LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Counterculture icon
Emily the Strange, a symbol of female empowerment and
anti-conformity, is headed to the big screen with her four
Dark Horse Comics, which has published several comic books
detailing the goth teen's exploits, will produce a feature film
that will detail her origins.
Skateboarder Rob Reger created the character among a
multitude of designs he was printing up for stickers, T-shirts
and skateboards in Santa Cruz, Calif,, in the early 1990s. The
Emily design took off, with Reger's company, Cosmic Debris,
going on to become a multimillion-dollar business with toeholds
in fashion, books and comics, toys, school supplies, and
accessories. Reger has remained the creative director behind
the character and is one of several artists who work on
The film will be produced by Mike Richardson, the founder
or Oregon-based Dark Horse. The project is not yet set-up at a
studio, though Universal is a contender as Dark Horse has a
first-look deal there.
"Emily herself is very appealing little girl, there's an
edge to her," Richardson said. "There is something very
alluring to her image; people see it and respond to it
Richardson, who's been a producer on such films as
"Hellboy" and its upcoming sequel as well as "30 Days of
Night," said he and Reger will be looking for a filmmaker who
"gets the character." The filmmaker choice may in turn dictate
what format will serve the story best: live-action, animation,
or a combination of the two.
The story line is being kept under wraps, though Reger, who
concocted it, said it will offer up some back story and will
feature Emily's four cats -- troublemaker Sabbath, schemer
Nee-Chee, imaginative Miles and leader Mystery. It will also
have 13 new characters with names like Earwig, Umlaut,
McFreeley and Officer Summers. The story forms the basis of an
"Emily" young adult novel, which will be published next year by
Reger, who is influenced by Dr. Seuss and M.C. Escher among
others in his designs, said Emily's popularity is due to the
character's punk fashion sense, the clean and direct graphic
quality of her design, her feline companions, and the message
of empowerment she represents.
"In their life, everybody has, especially in the teenage
years, looked to find themselves and felt like they don't fit
in," said Reger. "Emily represents that person, but in a
positive light. She prefers to be different and to look at
things in her own way. She's a great role model for people to
think for themselves."
He adds: "It was one my many designs that just stuck. I
remember three years (after I created it) thinking 'They're
still ordering the same dang shirt!' There's something there."